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November 28, 2015
Modern additions and a restoration transform a 2,930-square-foot home.
Cedar shingle facade of Delaware renovation by Robert M. Gurney Architect

“The existing house was an important house in the heart of the historical district,” architect Robert Gurney said. To honor the property’s legacy, and fulfill the city’s requirements, the firm fully restored the exterior with cedar shingles.

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Cedar shingle facade of Delaware renovation by Robert M. Gurney Architect

“We were required to keep the existing wall, floor and roof framing in the historical house. Working to get the floors level and the walls plumb presented the biggest challenge,” Gurney said. The windows are from Hope’s Windows Inc.

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Pietra Serena tiles Monti sofa by Dellarobbia in living room of Delaware renovation by Robert M. Gurney Architect.

Pietra Serena tiles unite the living room, dining room, and kitchen under a mahogany ceiling. San Siro Wall Lamps by De Majo surround a Monti sectional sofa by Dellarobbia. 

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Steel swing doors in patio of Delaware renovation by Robert M. Gurney Architect

“The client wished to more that double the size of the house,” Gurney said. “The goal was to provide the additional space as a series of smaller pavilions to allow the original historical house to be the most important part of the composition.” Steel swing doors by Hope’s Windows Inc. lead outside, and a custom standing seam metal roof slopes above the far end of the pool.

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Arizona modular outdoor seating by Barlow Tyrie in patio of Delaware renovation by Robert M. Gurney Architect

A Douglas fir ceiling in the screened porch and red bricks are accented by blue Arizona modular outdoor seating by Barlow Tyrie.

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Copenhagen nightstand and Brazo table lamp in bedroom of Delaware renovation by Robert M. Gurney Architect

Aside from the master bedroom, there are three additional bedrooms in the house. Gurney and his team used glass throughout to carry light into the home. A Copenhagen nightstand supports a Brazo table lamp in this third-floor guest room.

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Ella bed and Lightolier fixtures in bedroom of Delaware renovation by Robert M. Gurney Architect

This custom glass structure by Ilex Construction allows for an abundance of light during the day. At night, Lightolier fixtures on the ceiling illuminate the Ella bed. Sherwin-Williams “Pure White” was painted on all interior walls.

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Custom bed and Eames molded plywood lounge chair in bedroom of Delaware renovation by Robert M. Gurney Architect

“In this project, the interior walls and ceilings in the existing historical component are white, and the walls and ceiling materials in the new pavilions are wood,” Gurney said. In the master bedroom, a custom bed and nightstands by Baron Gurney Interiors sit across from an Eames molded plywood lounge chair.

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Calacatta Gold marble tiles and Duravit bathtub in bathroom of Delaware renovation by Robert M. Gurney Architect

Italian Calacatta Gold marble tiles in the bathroom match an equally pristine Duravit bathtub. Vola fittings were installed in the shower.

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Richard Schultz outdoor lounge chairs on patio of Delaware renovation by Robert M. Gurney Architect

Outdoor lounge chairs by Richard Schultz sit on brick floors. The pool’s changing pavilion features a full bathroom.

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© Maxwell MacKenzie
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Cedar shingle facade of Delaware renovation by Robert M. Gurney Architect

“The existing house was an important house in the heart of the historical district,” architect Robert Gurney said. To honor the property’s legacy, and fulfill the city’s requirements, the firm fully restored the exterior with cedar shingles.

Image courtesy of © Maxwell MacKenzie.

When a Washington lobbyist sought a vacation house in the small coastal city of Lewes, Delaware, he wanted to relax and entertain in a modern dwelling. As soon as a centrally-located address went on the market, one that had the added benefits of being close to shops and the shore, he took it. But, the house contrasted with his vision: it was a historic, 19th century eyesore. So he turned to architect Robert Gurney and his namesake firm to balance the old with the new. “I feel very strongly that modern architecture can co-exist with traditional architecture,” Gurney said. “In fact, the juxtaposition can make you appreciate the positive attributes of both.” Gurney and his client wanted the original two-story structure to be a prominent feature of the renovation and they agreed on a design that built four new pavilions around the old structure. The pavilions are unquestionably modern—glass and stainless steel are reoccurring elements—but accompanying classic lines soften their details. Now, this home has the best of both worlds, including a brand new swimming pool. 

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